After your Model A Overheats



A friend’s Model A seriously overheated on a recent tour as a result of a blown head gasket. We learned the following while getting it running later.


The cylinder head warped from the heat and was planed flat by a machine shop.


Check valve lash clearances. In our case, the valve lash was all over the place. Some of the clearances were over .080”. Further inspection revealed bent valves, leading to their replacement and a valve job.


Plastic insulators where the ignition cable meets the lower distributor plate and the insulators at the ignition points melted from the heat and prevented power getting to the distributor and then through to the points. The condenser could also become compromised by the heat. These were all replaced.


After getting the car running, a short drive revealed water dripping from the side of the engine block, not at the head gasket. Further inspection showed the water coming from a previously repaired (soldered) crack in the cylinder block. The crack was cleaned with a die grinder and filled/slathered with JB Weld. It is still holding. We will consider this a permanent repair until it fails. Perhaps a half can of “stop leak” in the radiator might help seal the crack from the inside of the block.


These were some things we did not think of finding after overheating. Hopefully, these experiences might make a future recovery from overheating a little easier.